It's a line often attributed to its on-screen mouthpiece, but it was Chuck Palahniuk who wrote Fight Club's famous utterance, "It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything."
And if ever there were a songwriter in Northeastern Pennsylvania who could feel those words, sit back, and exhale them into something just as inspiring ... that man would be Jay Morgans.
You see, kids, a decade before The Woody Browns Project, it was Jay and The Morgans Project that sent us scrambling through the dog-eared apostrophe section of our style guides. (OK, maybe it was just us.)
Back then, a demand for unsigned artists existed in Wilkes-Barre, and Jay was the flyer child for the movement. In those days, you went to Gallery of Sound to buy music, but you also went to find out where Jay was playing ... usually Mantis Green or anywhere mugs of coffee-flavored coffee outnumbered cell phones on the counter top.
Then, you got your crew together and hit up the show well after doors opened, because while there was late, fashionably late, and "maybe the show was cancelled" late - Jay Morgans invented "Jay Morgans late."
Not the most driven of cats, if Jay had even a quarter of the motivation it takes to tell somebody to make a few tapes for you, he would have sold thousands. His lack of enthusiasm, however, was pardoned by our selfish pining to follow the one Wilkes-Barre white kid cool enough to be called "cat."
Like few before him and less after, Jay flourished because his words hit so hard. It wasn't volume or gimmick or guitar trickery that resonated, but rather the ungoverned and unceremonious verses he used to tell his wretched tales. Often compared to Tom Waits, Jay always left you wondering if the show you just witnessed was his last.
And though he denies it, on the day Jay stopped playing, the scene went with it.
- the article that preceded it all... gene padden's epic piece for diamond city...read it all
- the anti-valentine's day lonelies tour even made diamond city's cover, marking the new editor's first feature. it also got featured in the570.com's photo galleries.
- tv guide's joe hudak wrote this phenomenal piece for the times leader, which actually marked my first emergence into "mainstream" local media... i spent a lot of time talking to joe for the piece, and he also pulled a lot from memory... he was one of my earliest supporters and thankfully that olden-days nostalgia somehow carried over to the present and he's still a staple at the little shows i've been playing.
- after attending the out-of-retirement gig i played last year with bret alexander, and after receiving a copy of the record, the times leader/weekender's alan k. stout has surfaced as another strong supporter, both with this great article for his weekender column, and by securing me some serious airplay on 102.3 the mountain.
Watch here for upcoming shows...
January 2nd - Corner Cafe Location: 636 N. Main St. Wilkes-Barre, PA 18705 (The big blue building across the street from the Saloon and the Slovak Club-North End Wilkes-Barre)